Does Cat Litter Keep Mice and Rats Away From Your Home?
One of the questions we get asked a lot is does spreading cat litter around your yard help keep mice and rats away from your home? I have given a quick answer to that question just below.
Well the cat itself will certainly keep mice and rats away - that's for sure.
However, the smell of cat litter on its own without the cat scent will not keep rats and mice away from your home. If anything, mice and rats would even use the cat litter for bedding if there was no natural scent from a cat on it.
So if you don't own a cat, don't be tempted to buy cat litter, and just spread it around. All you achieve by that is to give rodents somewhere to do their business. That is the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
In the remainder of this article I explain why cat litter, just on its own, is useless at deterring any type of rodent, including horrible rats and also mice.
Used Cat Litter for Rodent Deterrent
It is worth noting from the outset, that cat litter that has been used by the cat can be spread around outside. If you know where the rodents are entering the house, then by spreading used cat litter around, that will help keep them away from that entrance.
So yes it works to a limited extent, however it is not a very good solution though for a lot of reasons. We are sure that you appreciate that the problem with used cat litter is that it can smell quite strong. The cat urine also eventually turns to an ammonia gas, and that is particularly bad in terms of smell.
It isn't something that we would advise you to do for just that reason alone. Apart from the odor, it also looks very unsightly.
Likewise if you have small children, or other pets in the home, it would be dangerous to spread any type of cat waste around the home or house. There are many better solutions than that, and we have shown those below.
I have read where some people have placed cat litter (used) into a pot, and placed that where they think the mice may be coming in. That appears to have worked for them, and once they get the opportunity, then they can properly seal up the hole for a more permanent solution.
Now it is important to mention that the cat litter does not have to be fully used. As I said, you do not want really old cat litter spread around anywhere.
The best balance to get, is to make sure it has been used enough so that there is a smell of the cat urine on it. That along with the urine smell will have rodents moving house pretty quickly.
What's In Cat Litter That Helps Deter Rats & Mice?
Most cat litters are made from a natural clay with a few other added ingredients like quartz and/or silica gels.
On their own they are certainly no deterrent to a mouse or a rat.
Even the scented cat litters have no impact on a rat or mice. Something like peppermint oil works pretty well for deterring rodents of all kinds, but scented cat litter holds no fear factor for a rat or mouse.
It is only when the cat has used the litter, that it leaves its smell there. It is that scent, well odor really, that mice and rats do not like.
Rodents will avoid that area, but again you have to balance that against the hygiene risks of spreading around a litter, that contains cat urine.
As you may know, there are clay based litters, crystal litters and natural litters. The reality is that it doesn't matter which of these you are considering using for the purpose of deterring rats. As a stand alone solution none of those will work.
However, if there is a scent on the litter from your cat's urine, then they will work to an extent.
There are much better and safer options available, so this is not a practise that we would recommend. Let's have a look at the much better alternatives.
Alternatives To Using Cat Litter To Get Rid of Rats
The most effective way to get rid of mice and rats is simply to trap them. There are a range of traps available on the market to do that.
They include poison, snapping traps and even humane traps, where they can be caught and released back into the wild. (If you are brave enough)
Now we also understand that some people may not be brave enough to go anywhere near rats or even mice. If you fall into that category, then you are probable best calling in someone from a pest control company.
Alternative 2 - Owning a Cat
This is a pretty obvious answer, but it works in almost every case. Rats and mice are afraid of cats, and will not want to share the same space.
Simply by having a cat around is more than enough to keep the smaller furry animals well away. Many breeds of dogs will also keep rats and mice at bay as well.
The disadvantage of this option is that you do have to look after and care for the cat. Cats will also quite happily bring a dead rat to your door. Although they will kill rats and mice they don't eat them, so you could ed up with a few dead ones at your back door.
Alternative 3 - Cat Urine Sprays
You can actually buy cat urine sprays to use, but I would not recommend using those indoors. That stuff smells a lot, and it is OK for things like a back yard, decking or patio where there is natural fresh air.
Don't spray it in your home or you will lose friends pretty quickly.
Follow the instructions very carefully though. This again is something that we would never recommend using as there are just much easier ways to get rid of rodents. These are also not really that safe if you have pets and children around.
Alternative 4 - Pest Removal or Control Services
If the problem of mice and rats about the home is bad, or has reached infestation size, then the best advice we can offer is to bring in the experts.
They are well trained to deal with these situations, though they are not a cheap solution. They are however very good at what they do, and they will get rid of any mice or rats in the home.
Can You Use Cat Litter as a Pet Rat Litter?
Now we have never been able to figure out why anyone would want to own a pet rat, or a pet mouse? That's just us though, and there are plenty of people who do. They often ask the question can you use cat litter to line their cage, or as a litter for their pet?
The answer to those two questions are, yes you can use cat litter for a rat or mouse litter tray, and no, you should not use it as a general lining for a cage. Rodents are a lot lower to the ground and many of the popular cat litters contain a lot of dust.
This dust comes from the various parts of the cat litter rubbing together, when it is in transit mode during delivery. This dust can impact on the breathing of any animal, that is low to the ground. In fact that is why only certain types of cat litter are recommended for kittens.
Conclusion on Using Cat Litter to Deter Rats & Mice
The real answer to the question can cat litter deter rats is no. On its own it is completely ineffective at scaring away any type of rodent. The only way it becomes a deterrent is when the cat has used the litter.
The problem with that is that it is not that hygienic to spread used cat litter around your home.
When children or other pets are in the home, you should never do that. We would also recommend not doing it anyway as used cat litter stinks, and it looks very unsightly. There are many other more effective ways to get rid of rodents, without using cat litter.
We suggest some alternatives above, and any of those is better than using cat litter.